Das Mädchen ohne Hände is Sent to the Village to Fetch a Jug of Beer

What did you say
when you sold your child to the devil?

She washed herself,
drew a chalk circle;

she wept into her hands
and then was clean.


She wept on her stumps
and the devil couldn’t take her

so she walked away, under apples, under dark trees.
The flowers in the meadow:

heaven’s keys, butter-colored.
At home: a burning bed, a suicide, the asylum.

The girl with no hands
ate a pear off the tree; her dress was probably yellow

and wine is sweet in the dark
as the man watches for her from behind the roses;

meanwhile, the army’s taken the family estate
for bombing practice.

Silver the hands the king makes her,
silver the lip and lid of the earthenware jug.

In the village, the innkeeper fills it.
Silver hands hold needle, embroider cornflowers,

smooth the linen on the table.
The beer-jug has survived the war.

Father, your home is gone now.
Do what you will with me; I am your daughter.